Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Glimmer of Hope

Jim Prentice has delayed introducing his copyright reform bill.  Hopefully it's a permanent delay.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

No Rights for You

I've been converting my CDs to MP3s and Oggs for years. I recently also started converting my DVDs to Xvids to watch on MythTV so the kids won't scratch them up. I own my CDs and DVDs. I paid for them. I have a right to convert them to other formats... for now. A new bill will soon be tabled that will make converting protected digital media for personal use illegal. I won't stand for it. I wrote the following letter to my MP, Jason Kenney, and sent it via Canada Post; this website helped me write it.

Dear Sir,

I am a Computer Network Administrator currently working in the Geomatics industry in Calgary. I've been a constituent of Calgary Southeast for the past five years, and I am writing to you out of grave concerns for the future of Canada's cultural policy, particularly in regard to legislative proposals for "copyright reform." I hope that you will work to ensure that any new legislation improves upon — rather than regresses from — the sensible policies set out in last Parliament's Bill C-60.

In particular, I do not believe that "digital rights management" (DRM) technologies should stop the public from making lawful uses of their legitimately acquired media. Publishers using DRM push aside the delicate balance between copyright and the rights of the public - a balance set according to an assessment of the public interest by legislators - and replace it with one-sided rules that reflect publishers' private interests. Any new copyright reform legislation, as in Bill C-60, should not make it illegal to circumvent DRM for lawful purposes.

I am also concerned about the implications of DRM on Canadian research, particularly the censorship of computer security research and of the implications of genetic research. As a Network Administrator, I know that all computer systems have vulnerabilities. DRM laws have been used to silence security researchers like Princeton computer science professor Edward Felten; when the only people looking for vulnerabilities are a few company employees and a vast network of hackers, the odds are in favour of the hackers. It is also not hard to imagine litigious corporations involved in the genetic manipulation of food using DRM laws to silence findings of any adverse effects of their products.

Finally, I am concerned that the use of DRM can threaten consumer security and privacy, as in the recent Sony-BMG "Rootkit" fiasco. When content companies routinely use technological measures to control how people enjoy entertainment in the privacy of their own homes, I think we need protection from DRM more than we need protection for it.

These concerns are shared by a substantial and growing number of informed Canadian citizens. I hope that you will take them into account when considering any changes to Canadian copyright law. Thanks very much for your time.


Jan Kat

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